I often hear grandparents say, “I love spending time with the toddler grands but am glad to give them back to their parents at the end of the day. I’m exhausted, they have so much energy!”
Does our energy have to wane when we are past 60? I took a look at why these little ones have so much energy to see what I could learn.
If you’re wondering how to have more energy after 60, toddlers can teach you a lot!
We know movement keeps us healthy. Getting used to being in motion throughout our day will keep our energy high. Stand, crouch, shift, reach and climb as you go through your day and you’ll feel a lot better. Can you still get out of a chair without supporting yourself?
Consider a day with a toddler as a day of opportunity to get in shape! Use your garden as a motivator to move. Leave your car at home and walk to the grocery store carrying your load. You’ll have more energy longer.
Staying interested and learning is an opportunity to create new synapses and activate the brain to be engaged. Engagement leads to a feeling of “flow,” a state of absorption and creativity.
You can still be creative after 60 and experience a deep aliveness that gives you energy for “more.” Learn something new, explore an activity in a new way and find yourself excited and in elevated spirits.
Remember how we used to say about the kids, “When it’s quiet there’s trouble brewing”? Children express themselves constantly with their vocal cords. The vibration of words and song energizes the body.
Remember how good it feels to sing in the shower? Sing, talk with a friend, cry when you’re sad, laugh with a funny movie, hum along with the music. Let your body vibrate and you’ll feel more vivacious.
Parents should learn that they can’t make children eat when they aren’t interested. Following a natural appetite and developing discerning food habits is a big part of growing up healthy. We’ve all learned bad food habits through family pressure as we grew up, through media influence and as a way to fill times of boredom.
Instead of eating when you think you need to, or because it’s sitting in front of you, try listening to your stomach and making healthy food choices when you do eat. Be your own best parent and let your body take a break from the constant food barrage. You’ll have more energy.
We’ve seen toddlers go from high activity to zonked out, from two hour naps to 10-minute cat naps. Children each have their own style but they get their rest if we let them. Why don’t we? I love a 10-minute cat nap, and can do an hour after a hard hike.
Instead of worrying about our sleep during the night, we can give ourselves the rest we need when we need it and have more energy. I used to take naps during 10-hour work days; it was very refreshing. Taking a time out and meditating a bit, can have equal rejuvenating results. We don’t have to be “on all the time.
Small children follow their own body rhythm. The natural cycles of day and night determine their activity. Small children do not think ahead about appointments, about what they need to accomplish. If we’re lucky enough to enjoy a certain amount of freedom from work in retirement, we can go back to that state of freedom and let our bodies and interests dictate our activities.
I have found that when I live away from artificial light and am hiking in the wilderness, my body finds its rhythm and has lots of energy in sync with the length of day light. Give yourself the freedom of not having a time schedule at least several days in a week and you’ll find your energy increase.
When small children want nurturing, they reach for their caregivers. Regular nurturing through touch gives them the healing they need to process the stresses of their day. For many seniors, touch is hard to come by, and we get used to living without. Seek out touch, even if you don’t have a partner.
Talk about it with your children and your friends and let them know you still need touch. Reach out and absorb what comes back from loved ones, from the grands, from your friends. Hold someone’s hand, support an arm, put your arm around a shoulder and feel the warmth and relaxation that results. Get a massage once in a while. Build a culture of touch around you and get more energy from it.
We all know how terrible jet-lag can be. When I happen to experience a good case of jet-lag, I apply the child-energy principles. I sleep when I feel tired, rest when I have no energy, move when I have energy – even when it’s 3:00 AM on my clock – eat only when my stomach talks, drink a lot of water and feel better in no time as my body does its dance with a new day/night rhythm. I don’t let the clock dictate what I should be doing. It’s very freeing and my usual energy returns quickly. You should try it too.
How would you describe how much energy you have on a daily basis? What do you do to keep active and vibrant in your 60s? What lessons have you learned from watching young children? If someone asked you how to have more energy, what advice would you give them? Please share in the comments.